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When the Sponsor Won’t Let Go

Written by Bill Morris on January 06, 2017

Forest Hills

Queens condo board fights to gain control of its destiny – and wins.

This week we come bearing bad news about electric submetering and good news about a proactive board.

The Princely Payoff of Preventive Maintenance

Written by Matthew Hall on October 12, 2016

Forest Hills

At Chatwick Gardens in Forest Hills, the bare minimum is not enough.

The Transparency Equation: 128 Instead of 1

Written by Tom Soter on January 04, 2016

Forest Hills

 

Jeff Glasser and his wife moved into The Normandy, a 128-unit co-op in Forest Hills, Queens, in 1984. Glasser was elected to the board a year later and served for five years. He returned in 1997 and served as treasurer – his day job as a CPA helped – and as secretary. Since 2001 he has been president.
 
You’re very involved in your building. Do you think you’ll get to a point where you get tired and retire from it?
 
No, I definitely wouldn't. I like being involved. I was involved with my kids' schools. I was on the parents' association executive board. When my son went into Little League, I started to get involved in the Little League. When my son was in the Boy Scouts, I helped out with the Boy Scouts. A lot of it was started from my kids' interests.

Send Me a Postcard, Drop Me a Line

Written by Bill Morris on November 19, 2015

Forest Hills

 

The board of directors at the Park Lane North co-op in Forest Hills, Queens, has been working mightily in recent years to improve the property.  They upgraded the elevators, redid the hallways, built a garden, got the finances in shape and, as a crowning glory, turned the roof into a spacious terrace.  It roosts 20 stories above Union Turnpike and the Jackie Robinson Parkway, affording sweeping views that include the Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn skylines.

 

But few people outside the building knew about these improvements.  They were among the best-kept secrets in town.

The Benefits of Having Biannual Meetings

Written by Tom Soter on October 06, 2015

New York City, Forest Hills

 

Jeff Glasser loves his annual shareholder meetings so much that he has them twice a year. "We have one official meeting, which is our annual meeting, and then we have a budget informational meeting the first week of December," reports the board president at the 128-unit Normandy co-op in Forest Hills, Queens. "In November, the board makes a final decision as to what the budget will look like, and if and how much of a maintenance increase there might be. Then we present that budget to the shareholders at our meeting in early December."

You heard that right: a board member who actually enjoys the building-wide get-togethers, those sessions that occur every year, which usually deliver frustrating and/or debilitating challenges to boards. 

"The job of the superintendent has changed drastically," says Steven Todorovich, a super who oversees a 120-unit co-op building in Forest Hills, Queens. "You might be able to get away with just a high school diploma but if you are not technologically savvy, your ability to communicate on many different levels will hamper your job." Todorovich is not alone in his experience of how a superintendent's role has evolved through the years. According to several supers and resident managers, staff members now need to know their way around a building with more than just a wrench. Fifteen years into the twenty-first century, a good super has to know how to download and run apps on an iPhone and how to manage his building's systems and infrastructure from a computer. 

It was a freak storm but it saved the co-op $2.5 million. At least that's one way some might look at it.

Tennis View Apartments, the 177-unit co-op located in the posh Forest Hills Gardens homeowners association in Queens, is part of a small enclave designed in the early twentieth century by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., son of the renowned landscape architect who helped shape Central and Prospect Parks. The lush landscaping was inspired by the "garden city movement," which aimed to create green oases amidst urban centers. Many of the buildings — a mix of single-family homes, cottages, and apartment buildings — are in the Tudor style, with brick walls, exposed timbers, and terra-cotta roof tiles.

On a building at the corner of 63rd Drive and 108th Street in Forest Hills, Queens, the co-op board installed a plaque to commemorate the late Soviet émigré writer Sergei Dovlatov, who lived there from 1979 until his death in 1990. And now, reports the Russian art-and-culture website CalvertJournal.com, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has named the nearby intersection Sergei Dovlatov Way — making it, reportedly, the first New York City street named after a Russian writer. Dovlatov fans had spearheaded a petition drive, and getting the co-op board on their side inspired them, they say, "to think bigger." Which just goes to show, you never know how much impact a co-op board vote may have.

The National Cooperative Bank (NCB) has announced it originated $18.6 million in new loans in April, with co-ops in Manhattan accounting for more than 50 percent of the bank’s financing activity in the region, according to Edward Howe III, Managing Director of the NCB New York office. Howe personally arranged the largest loan of the month, a $3.6 million first mortgage and a $750,000 line of credit for a co-op in Forest Hills, Queens. 

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